After watching our Junior School (Gr 5-8) Librarian, Sarah Torrible, host 2 very successful book fairs in partnership with Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge, Ontario, those of us in the Senior School (Gr 9-12) started wondering if we could pull one off in our high school library.
Informal surveying of kids indicated considerable interest, so in the spirit of ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’, we booked it for earlier this month. Now that the dust has settled, here’s a bit about how it went…
Blue Heron drove the items to us for set up (I returned the ‘leftovers’ the following weekend). You can see from this photo that some of the kids couldn’t even wait until the boxes were unpacked to start perusing the goods!
It was a ton of fun watching the students’ faces when they came through the doors – “I haven’t been to a book fair since I was in elementary school!”.
Blue Heron and library staff worked together to set up displays, with over 700 items for students & staff to choose from…
We ran the sale for 2 full days, including evenings. Books were charged to account (the bookstore was happy to accommodate cash/credit sales, but we decided to keep it simple and got approval from school admin to allow charging to accounts).
Both student and staff response was very positive:
- It was lots of fun connecting readers with genres that are less represented in our collection (eg. cookbooks – we have a few and I’ll get more once we get a student kitchen, I’m going to make it happen! – sold like hotcakes, particularly the new Eat like a Gilmore)
- The bookstore was thrilled with the number of classics we sold – the Word Cloud Classics in particular did well, selling out the first day
- Poetry, unsurprisingly, was a big seller – just wish we had more copies of Milk and Honey available for sale
- It was fun to have book-related merchandise as well – journals, tshirts, jewellery, pillows – although they didn’t sell quite as well as the books
- Timing the sale near a holiday helps with gift sales (we sold quite a bit for Mother’s Day, but Sarah does even better just before Christmas).
In addition to putting smiles on faces, we ended up with over $400 in bookstore credit to spend on items for our collection. We’ll definitely do this again. As we have such a large boarding population, I think we’ll try to tie it in with a parent weekend. And we’ll definitely add extra staffing, as running the sale while running the library kept us hopping!